Objecting to the Tinker Lane Application for Exploratory Drilling in Bassetlaw
The current planning application that seeks to gain permission to prospect for shale gas in Nottinghamshire is at a site called Tinker Lane which lies between the villages of Blyth and Barnby Moor (north of Retford) in Bassetlaw.
FFN understands that the application (Ref No: ES/3524) is due to be decided by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Planning & Licensing Committee on the 21st February 2017. The meeting commences at 10.30am in the Council Chamber at County Hall and can be attended by all interested parties in the public gallery.
The proposal by Dart Energy will involve the drilling of one vertical deep well and nine water monitoring boreholes. The well will explore the local geology some x miles/km beneath the surface, and will enable analysis of the volume of shale gas that might be subsequently extracted.
There are ten councillors on the Committee who are tasked with deciding on the planning merits of the application. They will be advised by planning officers from the County Council’s Development Management team who will write a detailed report to assess the various issues, which will include a summary all the comments received. Their recommendation is often the key to the outcome, but FFN is keen, in advance, to increase the awareness of these Committee members about the environmental implications of both the exploratory process and subsequent potential extraction (most likely by fracking). This can assist in gaining more potential votes to refuse permissions in future as well as in February.
It is seen as particularly important to shape the views of county councillors if the electoral division that they represent lies in an area where a licence to explore for hydrocarbons (ie. oil and gas) has already been granted.
The recommended letter describes some of the principal reasons for opposing the Tinker Lane application, some of which may apply to similar proposals that may be made in your part of the county. FFN suggests that you amend it as you see fit, and send it (signed) together with your name and address. Also, please circulate it to neighbours and friends (in Notts) who may be prepared to do likewise but be aware that it does not apply in the City*.
If your County Councillor is a member of the Planning Committee, he or she will be on the list below, and so please send the letter, ideally handwritten, to their home or email address as per link below, with a copy to the Head of Planning c/o the Development Management team at County Hall (see below for address).
If your Councillor is not on this list, please send an email or letter to the Head of Planning with a copy for the attention of the Committee Chair, Cllr.Wilkinson
Address: Head of Planning, Development Management, Nottinghamshire County Council, County Hall, Loughborough Road, West Bridgford, NG2 7QP.
Email : Development.firstname.lastname@example.org
Your letter or email must include:
- The Application Reference Number: ES/3524
- Your name, address and postcode (Objections without a postcode will not be considered)
Send in your objections by Monday 20th February 2017.
Nottinghamshire County Council Planning Committee
- Cllr John Wilkinson (Chair)
- 11A High Street, Hucknall, NG15 7HJ
- Cllr Sue Saddington (Co-Chair)
- Farndon and Muskham
- Springfield, Main Street, North Muskham, NG23 6EZ
- Cllr Andrew Brown
- Soar Valley
- 16 Hawley Close, East Leake, LE12 6NB
- Cllr Jim Creamer
- Carlton West
- 35A Bramble Drive, Honeywood Gardens, Carlton Hill, NG3 6NL
- Cllr Roy Allan
- Arnold South
- 9 Church Street, Arnold, NG5 8FD
- Cllr Steve Calvert
- West Bridgford Central and South
- 39 Musters Road, West Bridgford, NG2 7PQ
- Cllr Stan Heptinstall
- Bramcote and Stapleford
- 8 Cranston Road, Bramcote, NG9 3GU
- Cllr Rachel Madden
- Kirkby-in-Ashfield South
- 28 Derby Road, Annesley, NG17 9BD
- Cllr Andy Sissons
- Mansfield South
- 31 Birkland Street, Mansfield, NG18 2QG
- Cllr Keith Walker
- 1 Fisher Close, Collingham, NG23 7SL
- Cllr Yvonne Woodhead
- 3 Park Avenue, Blidworth, NG21 0SW
For further assistance please email email@example.com.
Template Letter to County Councillor to download or see the same example posted below.
Dear Councillor ………..
PLEASE OPPOSE EXPLORATORY DRILLING AT TINKER LANE, BASSETLAW
As a resident of Nottinghamshire, I am concerned that energy companies are prospecting for shale gas across Nottinghamshire and that my area may be threatened at some stage by the adverse environmental effects that this activity may bring.
There is a current application by Dart Energy for exploratory drilling in Bassetlaw, at Tinker Lane nr Barnby Moor, which follows the drill site approval in late 2016 at Misson. They are typical of what may occur countywide in due course. If significant amounts of gas are discovered, we shall be faced with proposals to establish an unconventional gasfield by use of fracking.
Here are a number of good reasons for refusing this application, the first 4 of which would apply universally to such proposals. [NB. Bassetlaw District Council has objected on grounds of traffic and potential contamination] :
⬜ The development will significantly increase the volume of traffic, especially heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), on unsuitable stretches of road in North Bassetlaw in order to connect with the A1 from the A634. This includes large HGVs needing to negotiate the small traffic junctions on Blyth High Street. The total anticipated number of vehicles over the construction/drilling/decommissioning period is 11,000, of which 6,300 would be HGVs.
⬜ The landscape will be considerably changed and an area of open countryside will feel relatively industrialised, albeit for a temporary period.
⬜ The vibration and noise from the 24 hours a day drilling over several months will affect a large area, resulting in sleep disturbance and increased stress. There will be further noise from compressors, pumps and the large number of heavy vehicle movements.
⬜ There will be serious light pollution from night working, and air pollution from ozone, hydrocarbons, dust and the venting and flaring of methane.
⬜ The wildlife in the nearby Mattersey Hill Marsh SSSI and Daneshill Local Wildlife Site / Daneshill Lakes Nature Reserve will be severely disturbed by the light, noise and vibration, and their habitat could be critically damaged by a water pollution incident.
⬜ The proposed drilling site is close to an aquifer used for drinking water supplies. No guarantee can be given that it will not be contaminated from spills and leaks during drilling or at some future time.
⬜ In the absence of 3-D seismic survey information it is suggested that the applicant will be drilling ‘blind’ with little appreciation of hazards from fault lines or previous uncharted coal mining activity.
⬜ There are several properties close to the proposed site which will suffer from noise, pollution and blight.
The application will contribute to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and as such is contrary to national planning policy (ref: Para 93 of the NPPF) and Policy SP4 of the emerging Notts Minerals Local Plan. The latter states that all minerals development should be resilient to the impacts of climate change “by being located, designed and operated to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions…and to move towards a low carbon economy”.
There is little evidence from accompanying documents to suggest that any reduction will be achieved at Tinker Lane or that Dart Energy has properly assessed the impacts of likely emissions from vehicles or drilling equipment etc, especially upon human health. The recent officer report on the nearby Misson Springs proposal concluded that emissions would be generally small. Thus emission controls were not a priority in the decision reached. However, Friends of the Earth countered that there are very limited benefits from the development, either local or national, because in essence it involves testing for a fossil fuel whose eventual use will be incompatible with commitments to tackle climate change.
Finally, it is worth noting that Dart Energy has a poor record in terms of its experience of exploratory drilling in Nottinghamshire to date. At Daneshill (also in Bassetlaw) a number of breaches of the planning consent were recorded by the local community which required the County Council’s intervention. At Tinker Lane a portacabin was placed at the site before any planning permission was sought.
Trust in the Dart operation should also be queried because of its limited experience of hydraulic fracturing techniques for extracting shale gas at depth, and of the dubious financial viability of its parent company, IGas, which is currently close to bankruptcy due to sustaining high levels of debt.